The record-breaking 2013 Belmont Abbey women's volleyball season came to a close this evening as the eighth-seeded Crusaders fell to the top-seeded Wingate Bulldogs by a 3-0 score this evening in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Scores were 25-17, 25-15 and 25-15.
Wingate, ranked ninth nationally, advances to Friday's semifinal match against Anderson with a record of 30-2, while the Abbey, which lost for the first time in 76 days (two months, 15 days), ends its season with a mark of 28-4.
Crusaders senior Lydia Schellenberg, in her final collegiate match, led the Abbey with 10 kills. Younger sister Hannah Schellenberg added five kills and ten digs. Setters Gabby Martinez and Abby Stine both handed out 10 assists. Stine tied for the team-high with 11 digs, joining Ana Maria Pagan. Belmont Abbey hit .080 for the match and finished with 45 digs.
Wingate hit .296 as Anna Hilton led all players 12 kills. She also had 13 digs. Shelly Stumph posted ten kills.
Belmont Abbey finishes the year with school records for wins (28), winning streak (22) and home victories (17). The Crusaders won all 17 home matches this year and have lost only once inside the Wheeler Center in the past two seasons, posting a record of 26-1. The Crusaders will begin the 2014 season with a 24 match home winning streak. Belmont Abbey led the conference in attendance again in 2013, as an average of 315 patrons came to watch the Crusaders in action. A school record 900 people turned out for the Conference Carolinas Tournament championship match.
The careers of Lydia Schellenberg and Tori Jensen came to a close with tonight's loss. The duo is the winningest class in school history, amassing 90 wins to just 35 defeats. 54 of those wins came in the last two seasons, as the pair led the Crusaders to a 54-9 record, two Conference Carolinas Championships and two NCAA Tournament berths, both firsts in program history. They are the first senior class to post winning records in each of their four seasons.
Schellenberg and Jensen will both graduate in May with degrees in Elementary Education, as both plan to teach and coach.